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Uses and Precautions for the Lidocaine Patch

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 8/31/2009

The lidocaine patch is a topical analgesic marketed under the brand name of Lidoderm. Find out how this medication is used and learn about possible side effects and drug interactions in this article.

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    This drug is administered topically to relieve the neuralgia (nerve pain) caused by shingles. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic, so it is able to reduce skin discomfort and sharp pain caused by the herpes zoster virus.

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    Directions for Use

    Clean the skin thoroughly before applying this patch. Do not apply to sin that is irritated, red or broken. When you are ready to apply the patch, remove the protective liner and apply the patch to the most painful area of the skin. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how often to apply a new patch. Do not leave any patch on for more than 12 out of 24 hours. Do not use more than 3 patches in one day. Wash your hands immediately after the patch is applied and avoid touching the eyes and mucous membranes of your body.

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    Side Effects

    Most of the side effects of the lidocaine patch affect the skin that has been treated with lidocaine. Possible side effects include blisters, redness, swelling and changes in skin color. These side effects usually dissipate within a few minutes or hours of application. If a burning sensation or persistent irritation occurs, remove the patch and do not apply a new one until the sensation has gone away. Serious die effects include blurred vision, drowsiness, nervousness, unusually slow heart beat and dizziness. These serious side effects should be reported to a doctor immediately.

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    This drug should not be used by anyone who has had an allergic reaction to local anesthetics or drugs containing lidocaine. Patients with severe liver disease may not be able to use the lidocaine patch. If it is used in someone with liver disease, special monitoring may be needed to ensure that the drug is not causing additional harm to the liver.

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    Drug Interactions

    Lidocaine may interact with drugs that are used to treat heart arrhythmia, so be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are being treated for such a condition. This drug should not be used in combination with other local anesthetics because a drug interaction could occur. Tell your doctor about any prescription or over the counter medications, supplements and herbal remedies you are taking in order to prevent serious drug interactions.